An Exhibition for Hunting Enthusiasts

An Exhibition for Hunting Enthusiasts

Posted by Lisa Goudy - The Moose Jaw Times Herald on 2016 Mar 13th

March 13, 2016

Hundreds gather at annual SSWA gun exhibition

Mid-afternoon on Saturday, Will and Donna Bilozir were surprised how
busy the South Saskatchewan Wildlife Association (SSWA) gun show was.

because people flock in. So to have it this busy still at this time is really good."

The couple from De Winton in Alberta was two of many dealers at the annual two-day SSWA gun show held in Moose Jaw on Saturday and Sunday. Last year, the event was held at the Moose Jaw Exhibition Grounds, but this year it had to be moved to the Sportsman's Centre because one of the other gun shows in Alberta had to move their date. That in turn had a ripple effect on other gun shows that didn't want a conflicting date with another show.

Paul Moerike, one of the directors with the SSWA, said the show would move back to the exhibition grounds next year because there is more space. While this year there were approximately 60 tables of vendors, at the exhibition grounds, they could have anywhere between 80 to 120 tables.

Even with a different location, the show stayed busy.

"It's a gun show for all the dealers. It's supposed to promote shooting sports and there's also some other dealers in there - pitchers, furs, knives, stuff like that," said Moerike. "It's to raise awareness to the shooting sport somewhat ... Any proceeds goes towards maintenance and upkeep on the range and/or conservation."

The Bilozirs import guns for their business direct from primarily Italy, but also Spain.

"Then we sell them. So it's not through the U.S. They come direct from Italy's factory to us, which is a real bonus," said Donna. "There are guns that come from Italy to the U.S. to the U.S. distributor to the Canadian distributor, then to Canada and there's some markup all along the way. So we avoid that by importing directly. I'm proud of it, that we do that."

Donna said their company, Bilozir Fine Guns Shotgun Reloading, is "the largest shotgun reloader supplier in Canada" done by mail order or at gun shows when customers will pick up their items. They
also sell gun oil, stock oil, trigger locks, snap caps and other accessories.

"All the guns we bring in have an oil finish so that's why stock oil is important, a nice German stock oil,"
said Donna.

She said they go to about 30 gun shows per year.

"We see a lot of the country," said Will.

"You meet a lot of really interesting people," added Donna. "People have come and picked up an order because we're close by so they come and pick it up rather than mail it. We get to meet somebody that we've actually had as a customer for some time but have never had a face-to-face. So it's kind of neat that way."

More about the SSWA
The South Saskatchewan Wildlife Association is busy during the year, including an awards night in April, an annual kids fishing derby in June and the wildlife advisory board for wildlife conservation.

"We raise pheasants every year and release them into the wild," said Moerike. "We have a range downstairs so a lot of target practice and stuff like that. We also help and support with kids' target
shooting and biathlon stuff for kids."

At least one of the SSWA's kids will be going to nationals this year in Quebec and the SSWA is sponsoring that family to go.

With the kids' program, the focus is on conservation, he said.

"The kids' fishing derby is to introduce kids to the fishing sports. It's all catch and release," said Moerike. "So it's introducing them in a way where ... kids know you don't have to catch a fish and kill it. You can catch and release. It's passing conservation onto the younger generations."

Lisa Goudy The Moose Jaw Times Herald